The total percentage cost from its budget for all of the Irish language services provided by just one government department in Ireland, including official translations? 0.0006%
That is the 2011 figure given in a reply to the Waterford TD John Deasy, one of the most vocal cheerleaders in the Fine Gael campaign against the Official Languages Act of 2003, legislation which enshrines (purposely) limited equality for Irish-speaking citizens seeking services from state-funded public bodies in their own language.
The story headlines the latest issue of Gaelscéal and proves yet again just how much the opposition to the Irish language by sections of the body politic and media in Ireland is driven by anglophone supremacism and intolerance rather than their alleged concerns over finances, limited budgets and value for money.
This figure of 0.0006% is even more stark when one considers that the total percentage of the population of Ireland which stated in the 2011 Census that it spoke Irish was 41.4% (a rise of 7.1% since 2006). That is 1,777,437 million people. Even delving down into that number, the percentage of non-school going daily/weekly Irish speakers is 4.4% of the population (or 187,827 people). That’s 4.4% receiving 0.0006% in spending on limited public services made available through the language that they speak.
When one factors in those who speak our indigenous language less than every week the number rockets to 613,236 people, or over half-a-million taxpaying citizens.
What is that George Orwell line? “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”?
Meanwhile, from the Donegal Democrat:
“Conradh na Gaeilge and Guth na Gaeltachta are very disappointed with what seems to be a rush to push The Gaeltacht Bill, 2012 through the Oireachtas before the summer break, despite being the most important legislation pertaining to the Gaeltacht and the Irish language in almost 60 years.
Dónall Ó Cnáimhsí, spokesperson from Guth na Gaeltachta says: “ Dinny McGinley himself, Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, noted recently in the Seanad that this legislation may well be our last chance to save the Gaeltacht and if that is the case, then Guth na Gaeltacht believes it a disgrace not to leave adequate time to discuss The Gaeltacht Bill properly.
“Having waited 55 years for a Gaeltacht Bill to foster and support the Irish language and the Gaeltacht, it makes absolutely no sense at all to us that the Government would not wait even a few more months to enact this vitally important legislation.”
According to Donnchadh Ó hAodha, President of Conradh na Gaeilge: “It was obvious from the sheer number of amendments to the legislation put forward at the Seanad Stage that the first draft of The Gaeltacht Bill was seriously flawed, and it seems that neither politicians nor the public will have the chance to properly discuss and debate this Bill before it is rushed through the Dáil.
“The Gaeltacht Bill 2012 will have far-reaching, long-term consequences for the Irish language and for the Gaeltacht in the future, and Conradh na Gaeilge strongly believes that such important legislation should not appear on the Dáil agenda in the final days before it rises for the summer when everyone knows that the amendments it requires will not be properly discussed before it is enacted.”
The Gaeltacht Bill, 2012 is the first draft of legislation dealing specifically with the Irish language and the Gaeltacht since The Gaeltacht Industries Bill of 1957; debate in the Seanad on The Gaeltacht Bill, 2012 will finish this Wednesday (11 July 2012) and the Second Stage of the Bill will come before the Dáil on Thursday (12 July 2012) before Committee Stage (Stage 3 – 5) will conclude in the Dáil Thursday week, 19 July 2012 – the last day of term in the Houses of the Oireachtas, meaning there will be a substantial amount of legislation to discuss and put through the Houses on those days.
Conradh na Gaeilge and Guth na Gaeltachta are calling on Minister for the Gaeltacht Dinny McGinley TD to give The Gaeltacht Bill 2012 its due period of consultation and debate and to refrain from rushing the legislation through the Dáil before summer break, but rather wait until the Dáil resits in the autumn.”
Democracy for Irish-speaking communities and citizens by English-speaking diktat. Is this Ireland 2012 or Ireland 1912?